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Lower than expected rate of new Bay Area cases could suggest social distancing is effective

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – There’s cautious optimism among Bay Area medical professionals on Tuesday as some doctors find promise in the rates of COVID-19 infection in the area. 

Since the first diagnosed case of novel coronavirus appeared in the Bay Area on January 31st, healthcare workers have been preparing for a surge in patients but that surge hasn’t quite come yet, at least not as forcefully as expected.

“We have what seemingly looks like a delay in that surge, that we know is still coming, but the more time that we’ve been able to put between now and when that surge is coming, it’s just more time we have to prepare,” Dr. Fajimi said. 

That means more time to train staff, more time to refine procedures, and more time to acquire the necessary supplies. 

The lower-than-expected rate of new cases isn’t enough to proclaim an official flattening of the curve but it could suggest social distancing in the Bay Area has been effective.

“There’s one thing that we can locally point to that we’ve done different than a lot of other places, and that’s the state of emergency that was called early, the shelter in place and the social distancing all the messaging around that, and that seems to have, it has to have some impact,” Fajimi said. 

So far, the sheer number of cases has not risen as rapidly in the Bay Area as initially feared, as compared with other major metropolitan areas that have since adopted similar shelter-in-place orders. 

“I believe it is starting to bend the curve, but it’s not enough, and it hasn’t been in place for long enough, and so we need to keep at it. We just need to keep at it,” Dr. Sara Cody said.

Doctors stress that while encouraging, these numbers are not indicative of a definite trend and that the best thing people can do now to help is stay home.

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